Drought stricken farmers receive rice seeds assistance By Laurifel Q. Gonzales PGO-Media Center

seed2Amas, Kidapawan City (June 9, 2016) – Rice farmers are now preparing to plant their fields again after the provincial government distributed rice or palay seeds as part of its measures to mitigate the effects of El Nino Phenomenon in the province.

Through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg), 1,000 farmers were given one bag of certified rice seeds each in a series of distribution conducted from May 26 until June 7 recently.

With high hopes for a better harvest this time, farmer-beneficiaries were also filled with gratefulness to the provincial leadership as they received the palay seeds which variety is expected to increase the level of rice production and help farmers regain and recover from their losses during the El Nino Phenomenon which started as early as the first month of the year.

Actual price of one bag is pegged at P1,380.00 which is shouldered by the provincial government and the same amount the farmer-beneficiary can save and convert to other needs of the family. Based on the information obtained from OPAg, the office has already completed the first phase of the distribution to all fifteen (15) municipalities identified to have had been affected by the drought.

This include: Aleosan, Midasayap, Pigcawayan, Pikit, and Libungan from District 1; Arakan, Antipas, Makilala, Magpet, and Pres. Roxas from District 2; and, Carmen, Kabacan, Banisilan, Mlang, and Tulunan from District 3.

Damage report of the said office has revealed that an estimate of more than one billion worth of crops including rice, corn, oil palm, coconut, rubber, cacao, coffee, banana, sugarcane, tiger grass, singkamas, vegetables, and legumes were damaged. Rice acquired the highest value of losses amounting to 483,000 pesos.

Accordingly, another round of the distribution of rice seeds assistance to affected farmers is yet to be conducted as soon as necessary logistics are ready. Last month, the provincial government also fast tracked the distribution of rice assistance where more than 278,000 El Nino-hit families were served.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan placed the entire province on January 19, 2016 under the state of calamity due to the effects of the El Nino, where based on PSWDO’s report has affected a total of 263,773 families. (Laurifel Q. Gonzales-PGO Media Center, Phot Credit: Evangeline R. Nadela and OPAg)